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Wu defeats Isner in Dallas, makes history as first ATP title winner

Yibing Wu had never even been to an ATP quarterfinal prior to arriving at the Dallas Open, so it was already a historic week for him from an individual standpoint by the time the sun came up on Thursday. By the time the sun set on Sunday, it was a whole different level of historic.

Wu won his first ATP title and also the first for any Chinese man when he outlasted John Isner 6-7(4), 7-6(3), 7-6(12) on the indoor hard courts of Dallas. Isner got a look at four championship points (one in the second set and three in the third)–none on his own serve–for a chance to lift the trophy in his hometown, but Wu had all of the answers when it mattered most. The 23-year-old finally triumphed after two hours and 59 minutes, converting his fifth match point when he got a serve back in play and Isner sent a forehand long.

As if that wasn’t clutch enough, Wu also saved two virtual championship points while serving down break point at 4-4 in the third.

“I made history here for my country and for my home,” said the world No. 97, who will climb to 58th on Monday. “I’m very proud of myself.”

“It’s a tough one to lose,” admitted Isner, who lives just a five-minute drive from the venue. “I don’t know how many match points I had; I’m sure it was a lot. I swear I thought I won the match a few times. I know he hit one ball…it had to be [on] the back 16th of the line on one of the points. Sports can be brutal. I had match point in the second set, too.

“It’s like he plays every point the same–definitely no nerves. He gets a ball to hit, he hits it, and on this court it’s hard to hit him a shot he is uncomfortable with. He is an unbelievable ball-striker and a very good talent.”

Isner now heads to Delray Beach, while Wu withdrew from that tournament following Sunday’s triumph.

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on Twitter at @Dimonator.